Who clinched a spot in their conference tournament and who blew an important win late? Which team is only one win away from doing something for the first time in school history?
Find out that plus more in Saturday’s Southern California college baseball roundup that features photo galleries from Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside.
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Long Beach State head coach Troy Buckley planned to pitch by committee on Tuesday, but had no idea he would need to go to his first reliever 11 pitches into the game or that he wouldn’t make another mound visit all night.
Senior reliever Nick Rossetta entered the game and completely shut down a high-powered San Diego offense for nine innings to lead Long Beach to a 6-1 victory at Blair Field.
LONG BEACH, Calif. — With two outs in the first inning, Long Beach State first baseman Ino Patron hit a hard but seemingly innocuous grounder to first base. But the ball squirted past Tim Wise, allowing Patron to reach. Back-to-back base hits by Richard Prigatano and Michael Hill plated Patron with an unearned run.
That was it.
For the next eight innings, neither No. 2 Cal Poly nor the Dirtbags (20-21, 7-5) could scratch across a run as Long Beach State took a 1-0 victory and the biggest series win in Troy Buckley’s head coaching tenure.
LONG BEACH, Calif. — All good things must come to an end.
And Josh Frye finally had his scoreless streak snapped at 30.2 innings pitched, but by the time Cal Poly (36-6, 12-2) got to the 6-foot-7 senior Saturday afternoon at Blair Field, Long Beach State already had the game in hand.
The Dirtbags (19-21, 6-5) scored six runs (only three earned runs) off starter Justin Calomeni to chase him from the game in the fourth inning. And when Frye did allow two runs to score, Long Beach immediately answered with a run in the bottom of the sixth, taking a 7-2 victory to even the series with the Mustangs.
Frye needed just 100 pitches over eight innings to earn his fourth win. He allowed six hits and two runs (one earned) while tying his career high with six strikeouts.
Cal State Fullerton and USC both ended lengthy conference series droughts. But only one team did it in a positive fashion. Fittingly, UC Santa Barbara/Long Beach State and San Diego State/UC Irvine concluded their series with yet another tight game in each series finale.
Check out that plus much more in Saturday’s Southern California college baseball roundup that features photo galleries from Pepperdine, Irvine and Northridge:
Rick Vanderhook didn’t travel with the team to San Luis Obispo and probably wouldn’t have liked what he saw had he went anyway. The nation’s top two closers, Sam Moore and Michael Cederoth, ended up deciding a game. See who came out on top.
But two unlikely heroes headline Thursday’s Southern California college baseball roundup that features video interviews and photo galleries from Northridge and Long Beach State:
Long Beach State took a 3-2 victory to even its annual non-conference series with rival Cal State Fullerton with the assistance of a Titan blunder on a routine fly ball to centerfield Saturday night at Goodwin Field.
The Dirtbags chased Fullerton starter Phil Bickford in the sixth inning after tying the game, 2-2, on an Ino Patron RBI single to plate Garrett Hampson. Reliever Willie Kuhl entered and induced a routine fly to centerfield.
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Long Beach State isn’t quite ready to just play spoiler. The Dirtbags think they still have some quality baseball left in the tank. They are drawing on their experience from last year when they made a run down the stretch, winning 14 of 18 at one point, and had an opportunity to win their way into the NCAA Tournament the final weekend of the regular season.
Long Beach State has shown it can play with anyone in the country with wins on the road at Vanderbilt and UCLA. On Saturday, the Dirtbags knocked off another top 25 team as they beat Cal Poly, ranked No. 23 in the NCBWA poll, 3-2 at Blair Field.
Juan Avila hit a deep sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to score the game-winning run two batters after the Mustangs failed to get an out on a potential double play ball. In the ninth inning, Ryan Millison got the first two outs before allowing a walk, but seldom-used senior catch Zach Miller threw out pinch runner Tyler Evanoff to end the game.
LOS ANGELES — Being ahead is better than trailing, especially if you can get ahead in the first inning. Putting the opposition in the hole right away can really set the tone for the game and alleviate pressure in the winning team’s dugout.
That’s why Long Beach State second baseman/centerfielder Jeff McNeil has become such a dynamic weapon, which he showed Tuesday night in the Dirtbags’ 11-1 thrashing of No. 9 UCLA at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
On March 12, Long Beach State head coach moved Jeff McNeil into the leadoff spot permanently. Since then, McNeil has reached base to open the Dirtbags’ half of the first inning 13 of 22 games. He has come around to score seven runs in the first inning. Continue reading
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Cal State Fullerton freshman Thomas Eshelman needed only 62 pitches to get through seven innings as he shut down rival Long Beach State in a 5-0 non-conference win Friday night at Blair Field.
Michael Lorenzen provided the offense, knocking a solo home run in the second inning to put Fullerton ahead (for good since Eshelman and reliever JD Davis only allowed two Long Beach baserunners). Lorenzen also doubled deep to left-centerfield.
Carlos Lopez brought in a run in the third inning with an RBI single over the shortstop’s head. Chad Wallach made it 3-0 after he scored on an error in the seventh and the Titans blew open the game with three runs in the eighth inning. Keegan Dale got an RBI with a bases loaded walk and Austin Diemer completed the scoring with a two-run single.
But Eshelman was the story as he pitched seven innings, allowing only one baserunner on a low-lining flare by Eric Hutting, younger brother to Fullerton’s Anthony. Eshelman picked up the win to improve to 5-1 while JD Davis had two strong innings out of the bullpen (see That’s Filthy section). Continue reading